As much as there is left to do throughout the second half of what has all the promise of a Super Bowl caliber season, there's not all that much to say about a team that has silenced any and all of the stereotypes. At home or on the road, inside or outside, with offense or with defense, from ahead or from behind, with momentum or against it, there's nothing "same old" about a Saints' team whose distaste for defeat reads like a Dr. Seuss excerpt. The saying "any given Sunday" exists for a reason (and it's not just to push parity for profit), as the NFL is as fickle a league as there is in professional sports. That being said, for this week, if only for this week, the NFC belongs to New Orleans and their dues have been paid in full.
An iteration of the Rams that was undefeated and is vastly superior to the one that took the Saints to task last season did exactly what it is that the Rams do in being an offensive juggernaut that schemes weekly heists of their opponent's competitive spirit, and the Saints simply did the same...but better.
Whether it was a Mark Ingram fumble or a Jared Goff interception, both teams got a turnover out of defenses whose effectiveness are dependent on creating the occasional disaster, but only one of those teams made quick work of the short field they received in return. Whether it was a fake field goal or a 4th down conversion attempt, both teams got aggressive, but only one of those teams was successful in turning their trickery into a fresh set of downs. Both teams had the ball in the final minutes with a chance to win, and only one of those teams, quite literally, dialed up a dagger to the heart of the opposing defense. Jared Goff went tit-for-tat with Drew Brees, but when the pressure got turned to a ten there was no questioning who was left slinging gems. Judging from the league-wide praise he's rightfully received, Sean McVay has set the standard for offensive excellence in the NFL...and he had the bar raised on him like a jar of cookies before dinner-time by an elder who deserves that same type of respect after clearing the path for such progressive game-planning.
Much to the detriment of the health of the Who Dat Nation's collective heart, it wasn't by as monstrous a margin as existed at halftime. However, blowing the entirety of a 21 point lead - more so through momentum than mindset - and still putting the plays together in crunch time says so much more about a Saints' team than using the constant drip of that SuperDome swagger to familiarly front-run their way to an easy victory. New Orleans took a counter punch from one of the few heavyweights that can match their power, and - without hesitancy - they peeled themselves off the mat and jabbed their way to a knockout blow of their own. Whether they came from expected sources like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, or the most unexpected of sources like last week's largely ironic Defensive Player of The Week in P.J. Williams, the Saints made a monopoly of the plays when they mattered most. The Rams have the far and away the highest second half point differential in the NFL, and yet they weren't the team that was absolute money in paying their mortgage on a continued ownership of the 4th quarter.
Whether it be offense (massive shoutout to the offensive line for holding the most prominent of pass rush without a sack), defense (Todd who?), or special teams (Wil Lutz is straight cash homie), there is simply a resilience that exists through the entirety of a roster that's not without weakness, but is without doubt. The Saints are winning in a variety of ways with a level of confidence that somehow appears more distinct than it did during last year's 8-game win streak, and that is no small feat. So yeah, it's still only Week 9, but today is a 'Who Dat' holiday as Michael Thomas' nostalgic house call answered any questions that might have remained about the winners of six straight before they made it seventh straight at the expense of what was seen as the best team in the NFL...